At last: the Hollow Bastion, perhaps the origin of the Heartless? We have blown up many things to get to this point. Now it’s time to blow up our good bro Riku. Probably.

Sora, Goofy and Donald stand at the base of a large series of floating rocky platforms, with a distant castle and text reading 'Hollow Bastion' in spiky, purple-outlined letters.

I’ve got to admit, given that I am already conflating ‘Hollow’ and ‘Heartless’ in my head pretty often, this is not going to help. Anyway, sweet set, sweet music.

The Beast, a big brown furry guy in a purple robe.

Also this guy is here. Does that mean we’re not going to see a Beauty and the Beast level? I guess that makes sense.

The Beast is here to take Belle back. (I hope Belle wants to go back.) He has a go at Riku, but Riku does an acrobatic pirouette off the handle platform then just… straight up fucking murders the Beast with his sword.

Sora intervenes and Riku takes ownership of my keyblade! The bounder! The cad! My OP superweapon!

Riku facing a collapsed Sora and Beast, while Donald Duck and Goofy look vacantly on.

Riku throws me a wooden sword to be extra patronising… and Donald Duck and Goofy immediately abandon me to chase after the keyblade! Donald doesn’t even hesitate. Wow. Jerks.

An edit of the 'Friendship ended with Mudasir' meme, with Mudasir and Salman replaced with 'Donald and Goofy' and 'Beast' ('Now Beast is my best frined')

So now we have a puzzle dungeon with Beast. It’s pretty fun.

We enter the castle and get a cutscene with a hall of sleeping Princesses. Maleficent does some wonderfully hammy acting to begin the Evil Ritual.

The Beast leaves to chase a Heartless version of Belle (I think) and…

Riku, now in a purple, black and red outfit with incongruous blue hands. The outfit is lined as if it is muscled.

Hey it’s this guy! He tells me the darkness will destroy me. Like, honestly dressed like that, and you tell me the darkness will destroy me…

Sora says ‘the darkness may destroy my body, but it can’t touch my heart’ and like… you’re not going to be able to do much if you’re just a heart are you, Sora?

Anyway at that point Riku tries to murder me. I really don’t see how this is helping save Kairi, but I guess he’s a Sith Lord now so whatever, he’s fallen to the Dark Side and won’t become good again until we beat him up. Luckily, Goofy changes his mind about the whole ‘betrayal’ thing. Donald decides to do the same (he totally wouldn’t have done if Goofy hadn’t ¬¬)

Goofy saying to Donald 'Well, you know... All for one and one for all.'

Sora says he has a better weapon than the Keyblade: his heart! More importantly, I can still cast spells just as well without a keyblade. But I think I’m about to get a sweet heart sword…

…nah, the Keyblade came back. I guess it liked Sora’s little speech about friendship.

The Riku fight is a bit of a slugfest, and not too difficult. Probably going to be another phase though…

Riku’s new outfit is dispelled, indicating… uh… he’s not into goth anymore? Anyway I finally get the white Trinity. There’s a lot of places I’ll want to go back and use that.

Party reformed (+ Beast, who came back after the fight), it’s time to explore. There’s a door with four slots, which presumably takes some macguffin to open. (The hint text is like a riddle, but I don’t think there’s anything in my inventory that fits.)

Instead, I find a library. Reshelving a book opens a secret passage, which must be really frustrating for the librarian. In fact seven or eight books need to be correctly reshelved before the final secret door opens, in the process completely rearranging the library. But that last door just leads to a lift that goes to a place with nothing I can interact with, and a chest that’s just out of reach of my jump. Maybe it will be important later.

Back in the room where I fought Riku, there are various small puzzles to solve to get four pieces of the Heartless emblem.

Four pieces which together form the Heartless emblem in pastel colours, placed into slots.

Not sure how Riku got through the door without doing that. Sorcery, probably.

Speaking of Riku, he’s getting a visit from a Robe Guy:

Riku in his old outfit facing a brown-robed figure with a blue glow, that's saying 'The heart that is strong and true shall win the Keyblade'.

Apparently the Keyblade doesn’t care about like, politics or good intentions or anything, and Robe Guy encourages Riku to get a stronger heart.

‘Plunge deeper into the darkness’ says the mysterious Robe Guy. Riku, don’t listen to this cr- Riku, what are you doing? Riku, you get out of this green smoke this instant young man!

There follows a maze of lifts that kind of reminds me of the teleporters in the original Half-Life.

Oh, I figured out how to lower the too-high-to-reach chests! You have to cast the gravity crushing spell on them.

Maleficent and Riku in front of a large heart-shaped portal with red, green and blue light inside. Maleficent is saying 'Unlock it and the Heartless will overrun this world.'

That guy is back with a extra-evil voice filter! Ready to complete the evil plan which seems to be… huh. How’s that going to be useful to Maleficent and Riku again?

Apparently it’s just an acceptable side effect.

Maleficent explaining 'Rather, I will use its power to rule all worlds.'

So yeah, Maleficent wants to rule all the worlds. Figures. To any particular end, or does she just like ruling things? I mean it will probably suck for everyone regardless, but like, what will she even do if she takes over?

I mean I’m just going to murder her so, eh, no big deal.

Riku holding out a red and black, sharp keyblade with Maleficent in the background.

Riku gets a new keyblade anyway. It’s red and black, presumably to signify that he’s an anarcho-communist.

Maleficent comes to deal with us.

Maleficent looking towards the camera with an unimpressed expression, saying 'You poor, simple fools, you think you can defeat me?'
Maleficent, arms outstretched: 'Me, the mistress of all evil?'

The voice actress clearly had an enormous amount of fun recording these lines.

So - that’s pretty big talk. Let’s see if she deserves her Chief Villain status.

…OK, that was a fun fight. Good mix of boss and adds, for once the villain voiceovers weren’t annoying (because they were just so over the top - METEORS OF HEAVEN, UNLEASH THY FURY!), felt like you were accomplishing stuff and there were even a couple of different ways to approach the fight. It wasn’t super difficult, but it was cool.

So now it’s time for that guy. Riku explains what’s so special about his Keyblade:

Riku facing Sora saying 'this Keyblade holds the power to unlock people's hearts.'

Then he demonstrates on Maleficent to establish his status as new Chief Villain:

Riku stabs Maleficent with his Keyblade, creating a burst of purple light.

Rather than killing her, opening her heart to the ‘true darkness’ lets her turn into a giant dragon.

An enormous black dragon with green fire around its mouth.

But this post is getting quite long, so we’ll deal with the dragon in the next one!